Sickness and health {Tuesdays with Tina}

This entry is part 11 of 22 in the series Tuesdays With Tina

If you are new to this series, catch up first and then come back and read.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Tuesdays with Tina

Me: What would you do when someone got sick?

Tina: Oh, here’s a funny story… We didn’t eat very well – we couldn’t afford to – so in order to get some extra vitamins we would have the doctor prescribe a series of vitamin shots. I didn’t like to take pills so I preferred shots. We would do iron shots, liver shots, vitamin B12…all kinds! We would go to the health department to have the shots done. We would have a little booklet of 10 shots, so every night for 10 nights we would go to Via Roma to receive our shots. One night they would do it in one cheek and the next night the other cheek. “Hey! We don’t have anything to do…let’s go get some shots!” It’s funny to think about now…

Me: It was an excuse to get out of the house?

Tina: Yes! Exactly! One time, my father needed to have a shot done, I don’t remember what for. So while the nurse was preparing the syringe, my father dropped his drawers. When she turned around she yelled, “HEY!!! Pull your pants back up! What are you DOING??” He had dropped everything to his feet so he was standing there stark naked! You only need to lower your pants a little bit on one side  to get the shot. He loved to tell this story.

The syringes were glass. Not disposable like today. I’m sure the nurses had more than one with all the people that would come in! They would boil them in a small stainless steel little container, like a little pan. They would boil the needle and the glass syringe, to sterilize them and reuse them.

Me: I remember Zio Gianni used to have that little pan to boil his syringes! 

Tina: Yes, that’s right. There was a thread – I don’t know if it was nylon or metal  but some sort of thread- that they would insert into the needle so it wouldn’t get blocked or stopped up. 

Me: I don’t remember that.

Tina: Gianni had to have many shots… There was a German woman who would come to the house to give him shots sometimes. She would get on my nerves. She would say, “Oh look! There’s a birdy! Cheep…cheep…cheep…CHEEP!!” and then would stick the needle in you. Oh she would drive me crazy! The anticipation would make you so nervous! You would hear the “cheep…cheep” and knew it was coming…!

When someone had a fever or was seriously sick, the doctor would come to the house. And when you needed to take penicillin, it had to be taken at a specific time, every 4 hours, around the clock so she would come at the appointed hour to give you the shot you needed.

Me: So nonna didn’t give you the shots?

Tina: No, no. In later years she got to where she could give them (everyone can do it now) but mamma, when she was a young girl, she had had two shots that “went bad” and she had to have a surgery. They had gotten infected and they formed clots which needed to be removed…on both sides! She had two holes where they had to dig out the infection. So she was nervous of doing shots. She wanted it done right. She always massaged the area where the shot was given to dissolve the medicine.

Penicillin was a powder that came in a tiny bottle. A vial. You would aspirate the distilled water and then shoot it into the vial. Shake it up and then aspirate it back into the syringe with a new needle so it would be nice and sharp and wouldn’t hurt as much. They didn’t use pills as much. Even now in Italy, it’s very common to get prescribed shots over pills. It’s more effective.


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About Sheila @ Making the Most of Every Day

I'm a wife, mom, and a homeschool teacher. I'm always behind on housework and paper pile sorting. I'm fond of this crazy life but not of melted cheese. I want to follow hard after God, making each day really count. I like to run, read, cook (and eat!). Thanks for joining along on my journey!

2 thoughts on “Sickness and health {Tuesdays with Tina}

  1. I love this series not only because it’s a cool glimpse into another time but mostly because of the records you are making for your kids!!

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